If I had any doubts about whether Texas Department of Safety Director Steven McCraw is thin-skinned, he managed to alleviate those doubts over the weekend. According to an email that was forwarded to me this afternoon, Col. McCraw is quite annoyed that reporters won’t write stories the way he wants them written.
Last Thursday, Jeremy Schwartz and Eric Dexheimer of the Austin American-Statesman blogged about how Col. McCraw and DPS leaders complained to legislators about negative media coverage and tried to head off critical coverage with their own alternate versions of reality. According to the email that was forwarded to me this afternoon, Col. McCraw responded to that blog the following day with a blast email to all DPS employees:
Some news organizations recently published stories about the Department that included inaccurate information, and information taken out of context, completely omitted, or significantly mischaracterized. Our media and communications team worked ahead of time to educate the reporters who were writing these stories by providing a significant amount of information about the issues they were questioning. Unfortunately, the resulting articles did not reflect all of the facts that they were provided, and consequently, the articles grossly misrepresented these issues to their readers.
The Public Safety Commission and your leadership team are incredibly proud of the outstanding work all of you do for this department and our state, and we take great issue with this type of inaccurate reporting about the Department.
You can read the rest of the email by clicking here. The colonel’s email is a rather unoriginal and unsophisticated attempt to play the “us vs. them” game: when reporters question the actions of the colonel and his “leadership team,” the colonel tries to convince his employees that it is an attack on “the outstanding work all of you do for this department and our state.” I know a lot of troopers, but I can’t think of a single one of them who’s dumb enough to fall for that trick.
As Mr. Schwartz’s and Mr. Dexheimer’s blog post noted, Col. McCraw made headlines all by himself last week after I published an email wherein the colonel called Snoop Dogg a “dope-smoking cop hater.” Other emails indicate that the colonel insisted on a reprimand for my client, Trooper Billy Spears, because Billy allowed himself to be photographed with the Doggfather. So who’s responsible for all of that negative media coverage?
If the colonel is worried about embarrassing media coverage, maybe he should quit doing stupid things that make international headlines. Meanwhile, he should quit accusing reporters of misrepresenting the facts unless he can tell us exactly what facts were misrepresented. Let’s hear some specifics, colonel, instead of vague accusations that “information” has been omitted, taken out of context, or mischaracterized. It’s time to put up or shut up.